Gracefully Grayson

Gracefully Grayson

4.12 (6,567 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Tenderly and courageously told, Gracefully Grayson is a small miracle of a book. Its story is so compelling I found myself holding my breath as I read it and so intimate I felt as if what was happening to Grayson was happening to me. Thank you, Ami Polonsky, for creating this memorable character who will open hearts and minds and very possibly be the miracle that changes lives." -James Howe, award-winning and best-selling author of The Misfits What if who you are on the outside doesn't match who you are on the inside? Grayson Sender has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: "he" is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender's body. The weight of this secret is crushing, but sharing it would mean facing ridicule, scorn, rejection, or worse. Despite the risks, Grayson's true self itches to break free. Will new strength from an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher's wisdom be enough to help Grayson step into the spotlight she was born to inhabit? Debut author Ami Polonsky's moving, beautifully-written novel about identity, self-esteem, and friendship shines with the strength of a young person's spirit and the enduring power of acceptance. More advance praise for Gracefully Grayson "Don't be intimidated when I say that Gracefully Grayson is an important book. (It is.) It's also a brave, exhilarating, heart-stopping, roller-coaster ride of self-discovery that will leave you cheering."
-Dean Pitchford, Oscar-winning songwriter and award-winning author of Captain Nobody and Nickel Bay Nick
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 252 pages
  • 145 x 216 x 22.86mm | 416g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1423185277
  • 9781423185277
  • 349,775

Review Text

Grayson's sure that if he could just find a way, he could strip off his ill-fitting male self and become the girl he was always meant to be. An uncharacteristically brave moment during an audition and a forward-thinking teacher willing to take a risk means that Grayson lands the role of Persephone in a school play. The ensuing controversy doesn't keep Grayson from the role, but it does shake up the town in permanent ways. Grayson is an endearing narrator of his own life as he moves from quiet doodler waiting for some magical moment to a determined kid who realizes he can just make his own. Unfortunately, there isn't much depth to the characters who surround him, and their flat rejection or immediate acceptance of Grayson end up being devoid of realistic complexity. In addition, a resources or further reading list would have been useful, particularly as the young intended audience isn't likely to have read much about transgender preteens before. Nevertheless, this is a well-intentioned, warm look at a kid who finds a voice that feels true for the first time, and for that reason, many readers may find this to be a memorable read. AS BCCB
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Review quote

4Q 4P M J Sixth-grader Grayson Sender has lived with his aunt and uncle ever since his parents died in a car accident, and has harbored a deep, dark secret from them and the rest of the world. He secretly imagines that his track pants are flowing skirts, that his long hair is pulled back with ribbons and barrettes, and that the shapes he doodles during school are pictures of princesses. Grayson's secret is something that his parents knew, but they are gone. His new family is less accepting of the fact that, even though born a boy, deep down inside, he is a girl. When he summons the courage to try out for a female role in the school play, Grayson finds out just how unaccepting people can be. Polonsky's first novel is a triumph. It is well written, insightful, and true to the world of middle school, beginning with Grayson doodling in class and trying to remain as anonymous as possible in school. When he is noticed, it is to be teased and bullied, even by his cousin Jack, who used to be his friend. Grayson is lonely and alone as he slowly comes to accept who and what he is, and takes baby steps toward expressing that true self to the rest of the world. It seems utterly realistic heartbreaking and uplifting at once. This is an excellent choice for a middle school classroom discussion.-Laura Lehner. VOYA"
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About Ami Polonsky

Ami Polonsky ( is a reading and writing tutor, mother to two young children, and author, among other things. A former Language Arts teacher and literacy coach, Ami remains passionate about guiding children towards a love of books and helping create lifetime readers. Ami lives outside of Chicago with her family. This is her first novel.
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Rating details

6,567 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 39% (2,530)
4 40% (2,643)
3 17% (1,134)
2 3% (186)
1 1% (74)
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